Planet Rugby

Harlequins scrape draw in Newcastle

02nd March 2012 21:49

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Falcons flyhalf Jimmy Gopperth holds his head after a last second penalty from Quins Nick Evans

So close: Jimmy Gopperth is left devastated at the final whistle

Harlequins fly-half Nick Evans robbed Newcastle of a deserved win when he slotted a penalty in injury time to secure a 9-9 draw for the Premiership leaders at Kingston Park on Friday.

It was a tight and physical encounter with a penalty apiece from Jimmy Gopperth and Evans all there was to show in the opening period.

The second was equally with stale with Gopperth and Evans trading two more three-pointers each.

The result extends Quins' advantage at the top of the Aviva Premiership while it moves Newcastle to within four points of 11th place Wasps.

Although they sit at the foot of the Premiership table, the Falcons have found some momentum in recent weeks and defeated London Irish in their last home match.

However, it was Harlequins who started this match in excellent fashion and were rewarded when Evans kicked a penalty. But they couldn't maintain their dominance and Newcastle hit back through the boot of Gopperth.

Chris Pilgrim was then sin-binned for the hosts, but the visitors couldn't take advantage and a fraught half finished 3-3.

The game continued in much the same fashion in the second period with the boot dominating the game.

After 45 minutes, Quins nudged ahead with an Evans three-pointer before Gopperth once again levelled the scores with one of his own.

Rob Vickers was then the second Falcons' player to receive a yellow card, however, he was lucky not to get worse after punching Joe Marler.

But the hosts' fly-half put Newcastle into the lead for the first time before Evans rescued the draw with the last kick of the game.

The scorers:

For Newcastle:
Pens: Gopperth 3

For Harlequins:
Pens: Evans 3

Newcastle: 15 Greg Goosen, 14 Tom Bedford, 13 Jamie Helleur, 12 James Fitzpatrick, 11 Jeremy Manning, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Chris Pilgrim, 8 Ally Hogg, 7 Will Welch, 6 Taiasina Tu'ifua, 5 Tim Swinson, 4 Adriaan Fondse, 3 Euan Murray, 2 Rob Vickers, 1 Grant Shiells.
Replacements: 16 Michael Mayhew, 17 Jonny Golding, 18 Ashley Wells, 19 James Goode, 20 Mark Wilson, 21 Adam Balding, 22 Will Chudley, 23 Alex Tait.

Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Tom Williams, 13 George Lowe, 12 Jordan Turner-Hall, 11 Ugo Monye, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Danny Care, 8 Nick Easter (c), 7 Luke Wallace, 6 Tom Guest, 5 Tomas Vallejos, 4 Olly Kohn, 3 James Johnston, 2 Chris Brooker, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Rob Buchanan, 17 Mark Lambert, 18 Tim Fairbrother, 19 Pete Browne, 20 Will Skinner, 21 Karl Dickson, 22 Rory Clegg, 23 Matt Hopper.

Referee: Andrew Small

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